Friday, April 22, 2011

How to measure Social Media ROI?

As a marketer you have spent few dollars on social media efforts and now time has come to show the results or at least management thinks so. To sustain your professional career as well as relevancy of your profile you need to show results and you don’t know how to measure it.

Don’t worry; I am here to help you out. First of all, investment should never be made without having objective in mind. Define the objective and that should be aligned with business metrics. Now let’s accept the fact that Social Media is not a direct contributor to top line of business but it is enhancer. If we talk in term of AIDA model, Social Media plays a vital role till third step but purchase occurs through direct marketing or sales channel only.

But you can analyze social media contribution using A/B split testing. A/B testing, split testing or bucket testing is a method of marketing testing by which a baseline control sample is compared to a variety of single-variable test samples in order to improve response rates. Before starting any social media campaign measure the initial state (of business metrics) and then measure it again at end of campaign the difference is result of social media campaign.

Social Media Measurement Buckets

In earlier section, I just talked about A/B Split testing or bucket testing. Now I am going to share six major buckets to examine.

Business Metrics

These are things such as leads, new email subscribers, sales and donations. You can create campaigns and see which links/posts to social sites are driving the most conversions.

Share of Voice and Sentiment

In social media, share of voice refers to the number of conversations about your brand vs. your competitors/market. To do this, you’ll want to use a monitoring program that can help you keep track of all conversations about your brand and your competitors over a given time period.

When looking at all these mentions you’ll want to make sure to track which ones are positive, negative and neutral, so you can assign a weight to each of these categories and calculate your average sentiment. To get share of voice, you divide the number of conversations about your brand by the total number of conversations about brands in your market.


A few things that may work as metrics for online awareness include:

  • Amount of website traffic/site visits/page views
  • Number of searches for brand terms
  • Video and content views


Engagement is the extent to which people interact with you and your content. Some signs of engagement include:

  • Likes (of a Face book page and of your content)
  • Shares
  • Mentions (positive, negative, neutral)
  • Blog comments
  • Ratings
  • Retweets
  • Email opens and clicks complaints, etc. Don’t forget about email, as your participation on social sites can have a positive (or negative, if you’re doing it wrong) impact on your numbers here.


Influence is the likelihood that what you’re doing inspires action. Some signals of influence may include:

  • Number of (and quality of) inbound links to your content
  • Likelihood that emails drive actions
  • Likelihood that Twitter links are retweeted or commented on
  • Likelihood that Facebook posts will be commented on and liked
  • Likelihood that content will be shared/liked (and to what extent)


Online popularity is essentially just the number of people subscribed to your content. Some people always say it’s all about the quality of your following, not the quantity. That’s true to some extent; however if you’re looking for advertisers or sponsors to partner with on social programs, having 10,000 followers on Twitter looks a lot better than having 500. Some examples of online popularity signals include:

  • Number of email subscribers
  • Number of followers on Twitter
  • Number of members of a LinkedIn group
  • Number of people who like your Facebook page

I hope these buckets serve as helpful starting points for you. Keep checking our blog for more information about Social Media Marketing and Social Media Tools.